To follow, my manifesto – summarised as briefly as I can. Here it is:
We are not only better together – we are better when together we make allowances for our differences. #mymanifesto
Problem, these days, is that the old social contract – the old “live and let live” (or even the “live and let die in peace” idea) – is broken. I described it this morning, in a further number of related tweets:
If Bitcoins is crackdownable-on now (am no expert, just observing what’s happening), why not before? When & who takes such random decisions?
With what criteria or justification is something left to grow, for it then to be controlled only when widespread acceptance seems assured?
If it’s wrong now, it was wrong before. If it was right before, it’s right now. No?
Seems to me the rule of law is becoming the rule of a-law. “A” as in amoral. Neither legal nor illegal, exactly. At the authorities’ whim.
In the past, we looked to government – the “good old state” – to mediate between business and people. The idea was that such government would come down, more often than not, on the side of its voters. These days, though, business and government work so hand-in-glove that there are no longer any kindly nor outstretched fingers left for the ordinary Joe or Josephine to hang on to.
So if you are reliant on state benefits – whether due to the misfortunes of unemployment, working poverty, sickness or disability – you are effectively reliant on the largesse of forces much larger than you: forces which, nowadays, get a huge kick out of kicking you in the teeth. That’s what I mean by the social contract being broken. In the 20th century, we allowed the corporations and their political advocates to externalise their costs onto us. In exchange, they accepted paying for the societal support mechanisms we valued out of our own humanity.
Now, however, our humanity finds no outlet (even as the factories and offices of our political sponsors continue to pump their “sewage” into the figurative and literal outlets of our cities and towns). The rule of law no longer exists in quite the same way as it once did – certainly that aspiration to sustain it judiciously has disappeared. What we have in its place is an “a-law” – an absence of law. And whilst the big organisations behind the politicians who now own us continue to externalise their costs on us – roads, rail, telecommunications, GPs and hospitals to keep their workforces healthy, schools to bring up their future consumers, police services to protect their property rights (both physical and intellectual) – we can no longer expect to be looked after and protected in times of need.
Our politicians and their sponsors now have so many rights without responsibilities.
And this has truly become the world of an amoral legislative framework.
And so, as a parting shot, I wonder the following: what if we managed – between us I mean – to construct a parallel universe where we were able to create support mechanisms of our own – mechanisms which didn’t depend on the kind of compromised state or business largesse I describe above? What if, like those bitcoin users and miners, we were able to conceive of health systems, food shops, energy grids and schooling which could be made to work on that “live and let live” basis I allude to – outside and outwith the boxes corporate capitalists and their politicos like to build? What if, like those bitcoin users and miners, we were able to create autonomous ways of being where we took our decisions for ourselves quite at the margin of other interests?
States within states? So why not?
Would our politicians plan to destroy us when a certain threshold of viability was reached? Would our politicians manage to see this as freedom and democracy at work – or, alternatively, a threat to their livelihoods only total elimination would satisfy?
How would our liberty-loving representatives see history’s best-educated and best-informed populaces acting in this way – that is to say, actually choosing to take their extraordinarily multifarious futures into their very own hands?